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article imageOp-Ed: Afghanistan success is an illusion - Soviet similarities

By Karl Gotthardt     Mar 23, 2013 in Politics
Kabul - As the war winds down in Afghanistan, there are similarities with the Soviet withdrawal in 1979. While politicians and military brass emphasize the defeat of the Taliban and the ability of Afghan Security Forces. This defies the reality of Afghanistan.
While there were few Afghanistan headlines this week, but there was a compromise on Hamid Karzai's demands to remove US Special Forces from Wardak province within two weeks. As reported in Digital Journal, Karzai made the demand four weeks ago. Karzai's demand came on the heels of complaints by locals that locals were subjected to search, torture and raids. The Afghan president accuse the US Special Forces of furthering the insecurity and instability of the province.
Tensions grew when the Karzai government discovered that President Karzai's demand had been ignored. [quote]The New York Times reports [/quote]that a compromise was reached to ease tensions on March 20. ISAF Commander General Joseph Dunford said in a statement that an agreement had been reached to continue the plan of transition of this critical province.
“I am pleased to announce that following a very constructive series of talks with the president and the leadership of the M.O.D. and M.O.I., we have come to agreement on a plan for Wardak that continues the transition of this critical province and meets the security needs of the people and the requirements of our mission,” Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the top American commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement, referring to the Afghan Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior.
The statement was vague as to the timing of this transition, but it highlighted once again that the US and its NATO allies are still in control of Afghanistan and regardless of Karzai's outrage in the end he is beholden to the US, not only for the security of Afghanistan, but for its economic well being.
The current situation in Afghanistan resembles difficulties encountered by Soviets during the 1979 invasion. While NATO's stated aim was a response to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack to destroy Al Qaida and the Taliban that harbored them, it quickly became a nation building exercise, with a handpicked leader, without regard to Afghanistan's culture.
According to the Telegraph
NATO like the Soviet invasion has failed to control the borders and the Taliban's safe havens, nor has it been able to protect the rural population. There is no viable economy without an influx of US and NATO money.
Invoking Western ideology on a tribal culture is misdirected. It didn't work for the Soviets almost 40 years ago, nor is it working for NATO. In the end Hamid Karzai is seen as a puppet of the foreign invaders and the insurgents just need to lay low until NATO troops leave. Of course there will be a residual force of a size to be determined. This force will comprised of advisers to Afghan Security Forces, Special Operations troops and support for the US drone program.
A further highlight to the difficulties encountered is Britain's possible offer to grant asylum to 650 Afghan translators that have worked for British forces. Similar offers are being considered and implemented by the US and Canada.
With British and NATO troops due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, clamour is growing to make an across-the-board offer to interpreters, who have not only risked their lives but are regarded as traitors by the Taliban.
Gen Lord Dannatt, former Chief of the General Staff, said: "British forces would not have been able to do their work effectively without the invaluable help of translators.
The illusion that Afghanistan will be a functioning state after NATO leaves is just that. Afghans are concerned with their survival and will flock to those that they feel are in the best position to protect them. Thousands of troops and civilians have been killed in the 11 year conflict. While there has been some progress, this has only been made possible with the strong hand of the US and NATO at great cost. Lest We Forget.
Roll of casualties casualties
Below are this week’s updated DOD casualty figures:
Op Enduring Freedom Total Deaths KIA Non Hostile WIA
Afghanistan Only------------2059--------1710-----348------18348
Other Locations---------------119------------11-----108
DOD Civ Casualties-------------3-------- ----1---------2
Worldwide Total--------------2181--------1722------458---- -18348
Accumulated 2013 Casualties:
KIA Non Combat Deaths WIA
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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